Are your workers ‘truly’ safe?
Do you care about the health and safety of your employees? Of course you do. However, have
you ever considered that a mentally and physically fit employee is a SAFER employee?
For companies in Northern Ontario safety is a top priority, and for good reason. According to
the Ministry of Labour the following fatalities occurred in the Northern Region between
February 2017 and November 2017.
Date of Incident: November 2017
A worker was electrocuted while changing a bulb, resulting in fatal injuries.
Date of Incident: November 2017
A worker suffered fatal injuries after being struck by mobile equipment.
Date of Incident: August 2017
A worker was pinned between collapsed trusses, and fatally injured.
Date of Incident: May 2017
While cutting trees, an individual was fatally injured when a tree fell.
Date of Incident: April 2017
A worker was fatally injured when they were pinned underneath the tires of a dump truck.
Date of Incident: February 2017
A worker was crushed inside a vehicle by a concrete slab causing fatal injuries.
The Ministry of Labour has also reported that between 2005-2014 there were 315 critical
injuries and 29 fatalities in Ontario’s Mining Industry.
These are statistics that many who work in the health and safety industry are aware of.
However, what we might NOT be aware of is the actual ‘root cause’ of these fatalities and
Was is the result of equipment failure? Was the worker not wearing the correct PPE? Was it
due to lack of training? That is typically the job of experts like company worker reps, health
and safety experts, Ministry of Labour etc to determine.
Conversely, how much investigation is being conducted on the actual workers’ mental health
and wellness at the time of the accident? Was the worker fatigued/tired? Was the worker
distracted by a personal crisis? How well were they feeling that day? Had the worker fueled
up with enough nutritious food and water? Where they experiencing a physical health
problem that wasn’t disclosed or had been undiagnosed?
The Occupational Health and Safety Act is expected to be followed on a daily basis to ensure
that all workers go home healthy and safe. What is missing in that Act are the requirements
of a healthy lifestyle.
If a worker is caught disregarding the H&S Act while on the job they can be immediately
disciplined, or terminated from their job. However, not much attention is given when a
worker continuously makes unhealthy choices with respect to their diet, sleep, activity level,
mental health etc.
Many chronic mental and physical illness are not reported to the Ministry of Labour since
they are typically not reported or go undiagnosed. The untold mystery of these illnesses can
cause a serious safety hazard to the worker, their colleagues, the company and even the
As the daughter of an immigrant worker in the mining industry, I’ve personally been exposed
to the dangers and risks involved when working with a chronic illness and how it can affect
the worker and their family.
The World Health Organization has stated that depression is a leading cause of disability in
Canada and Chronic Illnesses are projected to account for 89% of all deaths. Aren’t those
enough reasons to make the mental health and wellness of your employees a bigger
Let’s face it, the Health and Safety Industry has come a long way in preventing many injuries
and fatalities since it became mandatory in the workplace. Just imagine the impact a Mental
Health and Wellness program would have on the injuries and fatalities both on and off the
job if it became mandatory in the workplace. But why wait?
Currently, the biggest step towards encouraging a healthy workplace culture is The
National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and the
Mental Health First Aid Canada Certificate training program. The caveat to this is that it is not
mandatory and employers are not legally required to implement any mental health and
Are you going to wait until you have a preventable critical injury or fatality before deciding to
support the mental health and wellness needs of your employees? A discount on a gym
membership or a company BBQ is just not going to cut it.
It’s time to Bring Health to Health and Safety™. Let’s work together to get this right and give
everyone the opportunity to go home healthy and safe every day.
Lisa Lounsbury Founder & President of New Day Wellness Inc.
July 11, 2018